Bouvier Des Flandres general features, temperament, health

Bouvier Des Flandres dog breed face

FCI # 191, Origin: Belgium/France, Group 1.2 Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs.

Height: 22-28 in, Weight: 75-90 pounds

Grooming: High, Shedding: Medium, Coat: Long, wavy and hard with weather resistant undercoat.

Color: fawn, gray, brindle, black, "slat and pepper".

Ease of training: High, Energy level: Medium, Span of life: 10-12 years.

Breed: In the past, Bouvier des Flandres had many names, including "dirty beard" (vuilbaard), "cow-dog" (koe hond), "cows beater" (toucheurde beuf), and then came the modern name. In Flanders for many centuries existed unpretentious, hardy and ferocious dogs with the rough coats, which were used for the cattle grazing and protection of the owner's homes and belongings.

They were always performing a variety of farm work, including the transportation of goods, such as cans of milk, for which dogs had to pull the trucks. Shaggy four-legged workers were spinning also a millstones in a mills. Bouvier was involved in almost everything that happened in his owner's farm, but his main purpose always was herding the cattle.

For the farm Bouvier was an ideal universal breed. His rough shaggy coat was protecting him from the bad weather, which made it possible for this dog to perform the most difficult and complicated tasks in any conditions.

Bouvier Des Flandres's ancestors were a big and sturdy Belgian herding dogs, that were for centuries performing superb working qualities. Bouvier Des Flandres' s closest relatives - coarsewooled Shepherds of Europe, which include, above all, the Belgian Sheepdog Lakenua, French Sheepdogs - Briard and Pickard, and wirehaired Dutch Sheepdog.

Up to the early twentieth century, breeders did not pay any special attention to the appearance of their herding dogs, including the early Bouvier, dogs were not aligned by the type and growth. In 1894 a Belgian professor of Veterinary School A. Rhewl studied the Belgian Sheepdogs and allocated five types from the existing livestock, one of that types became the prototype of the modern Bouvier des Flandres.

Bouvier Des Flandres dog breeds

This was the so-called "cow-dog?? (??chien de vaches??). In the book "Dog Breeds" Rhewl wrote: "... the "cow dog" is very often nothing else, but a Belgium Shepherd, but more powerful, with more massive snout and very unpretentious, he accompanies the cattle traders during their transition through the villages to the fairs and markets, driving cattle on the road. The task and the job of this dog is also in the observation of the cows to pasture. In all our farms the "cow dog" serves as a guardian and in the night he is watching the yard."

For the first time Flandres Bouvier was demonstrated at the exhibition in Brussels in 1910. In 1912 in Flanders was organized the Society of Breeders of this breed, which has developed a breed standard in the city of Courtrai, based on the description of Bouvier by Professor Rhewl in 1903. It was a real sunrise of the Bouvier des Flanders, which were close to having their rightful place in the world of professional dog breeding.

But unfortunately, during the First World War the breed has suffered a considerable damage. Places where was concentrated the main livestock were the most heavily bombed. Most of the Bouvier in Belgium were killed or transported to Germany (where, most likely in 1914-1918, they served as the basis for breeding the Giant Schnauzer breed).

A lot of dogs were also killed on the battlefield: Bouvier Des Flandres were used as orderlies, connectors, and for other needs of the army. Bouvier Gamen (in Paret type) for his services during the war was even awarded the Medal of the Red Cross. After the war, Bouvier were well known, despite the existence of two standards: for Belgian Bouvier (type Roeselare and Mauerman) and French (type Paret).

In the homeland of the breed after the war, thanks to the efforts of enthusiasts, several Bouvier Des Flandres has been preserved. With the help of those dogs the livestock of the breed has been restored. In 1920 a veterinarian of the Belgian Army presented at the exhibition in Anver the first Bouvier Des Flandres champion Nick de Sottegem. Nick was recognized as the perfect representative of the breed and left a numerous offspring.

In 1922 there was organized the National Belgian Club of Bouvier Des Flanders, which developed the first standard in 1923. The merit of the Belgian breeders is that, having received a Bouvier of an excellent physical type, they have managed to preserve also the valuable working qualities of the breed. This was largely determined by the fact that in Belgium for the title of "champion" Bouvier Des Flandres must be sure to confirm the quality of their work in the police, military or protective guard service.

The name "Bouvier Des Flandres" finally replaced the name "Belgian Bouvier" in Belgium in 1928. In 1931 in France it was decided to merge the two breed types in a single breed under the title "Bouvier Des Flandres", which was published. However, only in 1937, after the meeting of French and Belgian judges in Lille, it was decided to issue a single standard.

Bouvier Des Flandres dog breed photo

Nevertheless, even in one of the books about dog breeding in 1955 there were published three standards, although very similar in their content: Bouvier Des Flandres, Bouvier Des Ardennes and Bouvier Roeselare, and they are all, in fact, describing the breed that is today known as the Bouvier Des Flandres .

General Features: Bouvier Des Flandres is a powerful, stocky dog, solid build, with the strong coarse constitution, square format. The musculature is well developed, relief.

The head of a Bouvier Des Flanders seems large because of the beard and mustache, but proportional. The transition to the muzzle is not deep, but underlined with shaggy eyebrows. Ears are set high, usually cropped. Chest is deep, well developed. Loins of Bouvier Des Flandres is short, slightly convex. Tail is set high, docking is optional. The coat of a Bouvier Des Flandres is wavy and consists of coarse guard hairs and soft, dense undercoat. Color: from pale yellow to black, as well as "salt and pepper" and brindle.

Bouvier Des Flandres lives with trust and devotion to all family members, but generally he is a dog of one master. Bold and reliable defender, Bouvier very seriously perform his duties. Bouvier des Flandres is suitable for the apartment life.

Temperament: Bouvier Des Flandres feels himself  best when his owner is beside him. Bouvier is extremely clever, but inside this dog is laid the desire for some independence, sometimes he may show stubbornness. If the dog decides that he do not want to do something, so he'll never do it. And you can not make him do this by force. The Bouvier's owner need to show the good atitude, patience and perseverance. Bouvier Des Flandres in the house is quiet, he does not bark much. He is very reserved with strangers, Bouvier is an excellent keeper and defender.

He cares for children and the elderly of his family, knowing that they are weak and defenseless.

Bouvier Des Flandres require daily exercise, without a job to do he will be bored and will loose his shape. The best option when the dog lives in the house with the owner, but has the freedom to go out into the garden or yard. In order to raise up a good Bouvier a lot of exercises are needed frequently. Bouvier is a relatively calm dog, and if the owner will not move much, the dog would prefer to do the same.

An adult Bouvier Des Flanres is a very hardy dog and would be happy to accompany the rider on the horse, because the dogs of this breed get along well with horses and cows. Bad weather for the Bouvier is not a problem, thick coat protects the dog from a great changes in temperature and moisture. The owner of a Bouvier has necessarily to find time for serious training of the dog. It may be any kind of courses - obedience, agility, guarding etc.

Tough with thick undercoat coat of  Bouvier Des Flandres is subjected to a light trimming, which highlights the contours of the dog's body. When the coat is trimmed too short, it disrupts the natural rough shape of a dog, therefore it is not allowed.

Health problems: Although the Bouvier Des Flandres in general is a very hardy breed, still in some lines they are prone to cataracts and hip dysplasia.

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